Leadership Styles and Structures in "Lord of the Flies"

May 28, 2020 by Essay Writer

In order to have influence over others, you must be the strongest, physically and mentally. However, sometimes just choosing the strongest person in the group is not the smartest choice. A leader also must believe in himself, if the leader does not believe in himself then who will? William Golding believes that every type of leadership is flawed in some way or another, he uses two main characters in the novel to represent the types of leadership, Ralph and Jack. Throughout Lord of the flies, Golding believes that the type of leadership structure doesn’t matter and that nothing could stop the boys from turning into savages; the boys experience two different types of leadership throughout the book but, through this, we see how Golding’s beliefs that all leadership is somehow flawed, however, his beliefs are inaccurate.

At the beginning and throughout Lord of the flies, Ralph is the first character introduced to the reader and his leadership abilities are immediately being expressed through the use of the conch and the vote he holds to see who should be pronounced chief.

Furthermore, Ralph takes charge of the boys right away in a democratic type of fashion as he uses a seashell that other character named Piggy found to call the other boys together, Ralph also holds a vote between himself and another boy named Jack to see who should be called chief. ‘He lifted the conch seems to me we ought to have ourselves a chief to decide things.’ (Golding 18)Out of the two styles of leadership Golding uses within his novel, this is one of them. After the vote, Ralph ends up being elected over the other candidate, Jack and begins immediately directing who should be doing what in order to maximize chances of surviving and getting rescued.

For instance, Ralph directs Jack and the rest of his choir group to be hunters, they attempt to construct huts and establish restroom areas and begin on keeping the fire going. With all these examples, it is clear that Golding is demonstrating the first of his two styles of leadership with Ralph representing democracy, he is also the symbol of order and leadership among the group. With Jack and his hunting group already becoming obsessed with killing an animal on the island, we get a quick view of Golding’s second idea of leadership. In addition, the second idea of Golding’s leadership represented in Jack, Jack is more of an authoritarian type of leader who demands obedience and conformity and stops at nothing to make sure he is seen as the strongest boy on the island. Although Jack may be considered a compelling leader, he has completely lost sight of the idea of rescue and spends most of his time hunting for animals and the so-called beast that roams the island.

Jack uses intimidation and fear to control his group, with encouraging his tribe to participate in immoral and barbaric behavior unlike Ralph, who wanted to build a mock society and do everything as civil as possible and just focus on being rescued. ‘He’s not a hunter. He’d never have got us any meat. He isn’t a prefect and we don’t know anything about him. He just gives orders and expects people to obey for nothing. All this talk-‘ (Golding 139) These examples prove it is clear that Golding was using Jack to symbolize his other style of leadership which would be authoritarian and how the last thing on Jack’s mind was to continue putting efforts towards being rescued. Golding is trying to show that yes, both leaders lack leadership qualities, one more than the other and how the motives of leadership affect the style of leadership. Golding believes one type of leadership leads to people losing obedience and the other style of leadership leading to warm however, he is still incorrect.

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